Serbia’s Novak Djokovic arrives for a training session during the 2022 Wimbledon Championships on Sunday. AFP
Novak Djokovic begins his bid to match Pete Sampras as a seven-time Wimbledon champion on Monday with British Grand Slam title winners Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu also on the Centre Court agenda.
In the absence of the banned Daniil Medvedev and injured Alexander Zverev, 20-time major winner Djokovic takes top seeding.
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The 35-year-old defending champion starts his title bid against South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo, the world number 75.
Djokovic has extra motivation this year as Wimbledon will be his last Slam of 2022.
Novak Djokovic returns the ball during a training session in Wimbledon, southwest London, on Sunday. AFP
His continued refusal to get vaccinated means he will remain banned from entering the United States for the US Open later this summer.
Also adding fuel to the Djokovic fire is the chance to win a fourth successive Wimbledon title and join a select group.
In the Open era, only Bjorn Borg, Sampras and Roger Federer have managed to complete such a streak of dominance at the All England Club.
“As a seven, eight-year-old boy I’ve dreamt of winning Wimbledon and becoming number one,” said Djokovic.
“Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon was the first tennis match I ever saw on the TV.”
Murray, the Wimbledon champion in 2013 and 2016, is unseeded this year but remains a dangerous floater in the draw.
He made the Stuttgart grass-court final earlier this month before an abdominal injury forced him out of Queen’s.